The Marquette Golden Eagles will travel to D.C. to square off against the Georgetown Hoyas on Thursday afternoon. This is Marquette’s biggest game of the season at this late stage in conference play. With just three games left, a win against Georgetown will keep the Golden Eagles in the top-tier of teams in the Big East. Even better, they might even jump up to second place depending on how the other results shake out. Everything went MU’s way last Sunday results-wise as Georgetown fell 1-0 to Providence, Butler drew 1-1 with DePaul, and Villanova lost 1-0 to Creighton. The teams ahead of MU in the standings are Xavier (who MU just beat) with 11 points, Providence with 12 points, Butler with 12 points, and Georgetown with 13 points. There is a true log-jam at the top of the table which plays perfectly into Marquette’s favor if they can find a way to beat a talented Hoyas’ squad.
Big East Match #7: at Georgetown Hoyas (10-3-2, 4-1-1 Big East)
There’s good news and bad news as the Golden Eagles take the trip out East to play the Hoyas. The good news is that Marquette is coming off a hard-fought victory under the pouring rain against Xavier. They have now closed the gap between them and the top four teams and are now trailing the Musketeers by two points. The bad news is that Georgetown suffered its first conference loss of the year at Providence in their most recent outing and will most likely come out guns-a-blazing because of it. The Hoyas will look to rebound from their 1-0 loss while the Golden Eagles will want to hand Georgetown their first back-to-back losses of the year. This week also marks the first time the Hoyas have been outside the top 25 all year, dropping to two spots outside the United Soccer Coaches poll.
Before the loss, they had outscored Big East opponents 12-1 with two 5-0 victories as well as a 4-0 win. It was the first time they’d been shutout since losing to current #1 ranked Stanford 4-0 back on September 1. Providence deserves all the credit in this one as they got the early advantage in the sixth minute and then held the Hoyas scoreless the rest of the match. That’s some impressive defensive work considering they were out-shot by Georgetown 18-4. This is just about the season average for Georgetown as the Hoyas have out shot the opposing team 18.7-4.5 this season. MU is probably not going to get as lucky as Providence did and beat Georgetown with just four shots. You can also expect the Hoyas to be much more proficient in front of net Thursday afternoon with their high quality talent on offense.
Georgetown has a 3-pronged attack with Rachel Corboz, Amanda Carolan, and Caitlin Farrell all scoring five plus goals this year. Corboz has nine assists to go along with her five goals and leads the team in points with 19. That’s good enough to be the points leader in the Big East and her assists total puts her at tied for fourth in the nation. Carolan is in a tie for first in the Big East with her eight goals but has a better goals per game average at .67 than second place Franny Cerny from DePaul. And if that wasn’t enough, the Hoyas have four other players that have scored three goals. Even if the Golden Eagles can hold Georgetown’s top three attacking threats, they will still have their hands full with the myriad of talent on Georgetown’s offense.
This is before even getting into the fact that the Hoyas have only allowed two goals in the last 10 games. This is in large part due to GU goalkeeper Arielle Schechtman’s Big East leading 11 clean sheets. It won’t be easy for Marquette to get a victory but Providence showed last game that it can be accomplished. The Golden Eagles certainly have the firepower on offense to challenge the Hoyas with Carrie Madden and Darian Powell both with double-digit points this year. Georgetown has a slight 4-3-1 all-time series lead against Marquette. An upset victory here would also be significant in the larger scope of things as it would even the all-time series.
If you haven’t already, it’s time to start paying attention to the other teams ahead of MU in the standings. Xavier (11 points) will host last place Seton Hall. That should be a win for the Musketeers but as this season has taught us... you never know. Providence (12 points) will welcome DePaul (6 points) which will probably be a closer game than the Xavier match because of the Blue Demon’s experience playing some difficult opponents earlier in the season. Butler (12 points) will play in a tricky game in Omaha against Creighton (5 points) who notched their first Big East win of the season last weekend against Villanova. If the teams with more points beat the teams with less points (which is no given at this stage of the season) then the Golden Eagles will need to play their best game of the year and beat Georgetown to keep pace with the teams ahead of them. Marquette currently sits in fifth place in the Big East, but they’re only three points ahead of a three-way tie for the sixth and final conference tournament berth.